Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s Chief Of Staff Resigns Amid Racist Email Scandal
Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s chief of staff, Tom Angel, has resigned after getting caught in an email scandal.
Tom Angel, a top staffer for Sheriff Jim McDonnell, has left his post due to a racist email scandal. Mr. Angel, who worked as Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s chief of staff at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, is forced to resign after California authorities learned of his “inappropriate and unprofessional emails with others.”
According to Sheriff Jim McDonnell’s office, between 2012 and 2013, while Angel was employed at the Burbank police department, he forwarded several emails with racist jokes and anti-Muslim statements. Some of the emails also degraded women, Latinos, and other groups. In one offensive email, McDonnell’s former employee joked about African-Americans and Latinos being incarcerated. The email read:
“I took my Biology exam last Friday. I was asked to name two things commonly found in cells. Apparently, ‘Blacks’ and ‘Mexicans’ were NOT the correct answers.”
In another email, Angel said American authorities have the right to racially profile all Muslims at airports because “all devout Muslims become terrorists.” McDonnell issued a lengthy statement saying that his office has accepted Angel’s resignation, and he plans to turn the situation into a learning opportunity for all LASD personnel. He said:
“Very recently I learned that three to four years ago LASD Chief Tom Angel shared inappropriate and unprofessional e-mails with others, during his service as Burbank Police Department Assistant Chief. This incident is one that I find deeply troubling. Chief Angel has offered his resignation, and I have accepted it. I thank him for his many years of service, and wish him and his family well. Despite the Sheriff’s Department’s many recent efforts to fortify public trust and enhance internal and external accountability and transparency, this incident reminds us that we and other law enforcement agencies still have work to do. I intend to turn this situation into a learning opportunity for all LASD personnel. In the immediate future, we will be meeting with constituent groups throughout the county to share thoughts and ideas about improving our understanding of the varied cultures and orientations and deepening our appreciation of the many ethnicities and religions that are part of the vibrant fabric of the population we serve. We will also examine our current training framework and evaluate our curriculum in these areas to maximize their effectiveness.”
McDonnell went on to say that the department will implement new “policies to enhance cultural and ethnic sensitivity, including conducting random audits of the email accounts of LASD workers.” The statement continued:
In addition, we will assess existing policies and systems for ensuring accountability and enhancing cultural and ethnic sensitivity and professionalism among our personnel. For example, we will implement a new system of random audits of the e-mail accounts of Department personnel. I intend to continue to build on the excellent foundation of community partnerships which the Sheriff’s Department has been creating and strengthening for many years. The law enforcement profession must and can demand the highest standards of professionalism, fairness and constitutional policing – individually and collectively – from its personnel. We are only as effective as the relationships, credibility and trust we have with our community; this is a fundamental point that I and LASD personnel take very seriously.
The Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable was quick to reply with a statement of their own where they said random auditing of emails is not enough and requested that the sheriff’s department announce when will the audits take place, what employees will be audited, and what the results of the audits are. The Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable stated:
“A full email audit is absolutely essential to ensure that employees do not bring their racial biases into policing in L.A. County. It will also send the message that there is zero tolerance in the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department for racially biased attitudes on the part of sheriff’s deputies and that any demeaning of minorities and Muslims will be severely punished,” Earl Hutchinson, the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable president said in a written statement.”
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